On a recent trip to Nihoa Island in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Pacific Island Coastal Program Coordinator, Sheldon Plentovich got a special thank you from a curious Nihoa Millerbird.
“This little guy’s territory encompassed our camp on Nihoa, so we enjoyed daily visits. He was very curious and I have never been investigated as intently by any other creature,” said
Sheldon Plentovich, Pacific Islands Coastal Program Coordinator for the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
The Nihoa Millerbirds (Acrocephalus familiaris kingi) are the only Millerbirds remaining anywhere on Earth.
In 2011 and 2012, biologists from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and American Bird Conservancy successfully transferred a small population of Nihoa Millerbirds to nearby Laysan Island.
Historically, there were two populations of Millerbirds, one on Laysan Island and one on Nihoa Island. The Laysan Millerbird (Acrocephalus familiaris familiaris), along with the Laysan Rail and Laysan Honeycreeper, went extinct in the early 20th Century following the introduction of invasive rabbits.
“We chose Laysan because it’s bringing us one step closer toward ecosystem restoration there. It starts to re-create interactions that were lost when the Laysan Millerbird went extinct,” said Plentovich
Nihoa millerbirds only existed on the tiny island of Nihoa, so the translocation also created a second population of the birds, buffering them against the threat of extinction